Opponent: Florida Panthers (11-6-3)
Leading Scorer: Kris Versteeg (11-14-25)
Goaltender: Jose Theodore (2.50 GAA, .920 SV%)
Rangers Projected Lines (projected):
Artem Anisimov-Derek Stepan-Marian Gaborik
Brandon Dubinsky-Brad Richards-Ryan Callahan
Sean Avery-Brian Boyle-Ruslan Fedotenko
Brandon Prust-Erik Christensen-Andre Deveaux
Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi
Michael Del Zotto-Mike Sauer
Jeff Wywitka-Steve Eminger
Henrik Lundqvist gets the start.
Scratches/Injuries: Marc Staal (concussion symptoms), Mike Rupp (knee), Wojtek Wolski (groin), Anton Stralman (healthy)
Preview: The Florida Panthers are a good team. Let that sink in for a second. I’ll repeat: The Florida Panthers are a good team. The Cats signed pretty much every single free agent available in the offseason, and made a splash by dealing for Brian Campbell. Those moves, combined with a resurgence of sorts for Jose Theodore, and the Cats are now at the top of the division. They are getting contributions from up and down the roster. Whether this lasts, we don’t know, but for now they are a team that the Rangers can’t afford to look past.
Suit’s Take: Boy have things changed quickly down in Miami. The Panthers are playing some very exciting hockey and the days of playing road games in their own building looks like a thing of the past.
Under Dineen the Panthers have ditched their trapping ways (nice to see) and are getting it done by relentless puck pressure and going to the net. Weiss, Versteeg, and Fleischmann have shown great chemistry and are pretty much providing all of Florida’s offense. From the blueline, Kulikov and Campbell have done a marvelous job getting the puck up ice and joining in on 4 and 5 man attacks.
Fortunately for the Rangers, the Panthers are a one line team and their forwards aren’t great defending in their own zone. Jose Theodore’s .920 Sv% has definitely been earned. If our boys can manage to keep this line out of the slot, we will be in good shape.
Crazy Thought: Deveaux gets his first NHL goal.
Opponent’s Blog: Litter Box Cats
Today’s game is on at 7:30pm on MSG, AM1050, and XM205.